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Author Topic: 12 bass Victoria  (Read 821 times)

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Squeaky Pete

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12 bass Victoria
« on: February 21, 2020, 07:15:47 PM »

The ultimate plan is to make a 12 bass 3 voice box, but for my first foray into bass bridging I'm keeping it fairly simple.
I have a nice CF Club IIB Victoria that won't need much treble work and there are a few tunes that require bass beyond the normal 8.
I've been warned that very old Hohners can have brittle and fragile ply so my first project is on a newish box.
So with thanks to Theo and Microbot for practical help, encouragement and a few bits, here we go.
First job was to remove the old frame that locates the reed blocks. This didn't go smoothly and a bit of ply split off with part of the frame. Proper 2 pack wood filler was my repair of choice and you can see in the photos that it looks ok and it's level and smooth.
I marked up the holes and drilled very carefully in a drill press. 15mm for the bass reeds and 11mm for the chords. A big lump of timber backed up and there was very little breakout.
The holes for the buttons were next and a very sharp flatbit worked well.
Next week it'll be new reed blocks and fitting the bass mechanism.
And if anyone has some spare buttons off a scrap club box I'd be very interested.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2020, 08:28:53 PM »

This is neat, I hope someone has some spares for you! I really like project blogs.
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Mark Leue

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2020, 08:41:16 PM »

Your club II Box was an 8 bass with a reed sharing mechanism before you started? Looks like an interesting project!
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2020, 08:57:27 PM »

Yes, it has the reed sharing.
It will have a fairly powerful bass with doubled 5ths and no 3rds. I'm not trying out stops as getting a neat and efficient solution is enough at this stage.
As I said, I want to do this in a IIIM or IIIBS but it will mean replacing the quasi-Stradella bass and it want to be sure I'm on the right track before the destruction begins.
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Jon Stapleton

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2020, 11:22:48 PM »

That is a lovely job you are doing,  i have always fancied doing a G/C IIb  but the 8 basses have been putting me off.  so i am watching this thread with bated breath.  will you need to modify the air button mechanism to make room for the bass pallets? there is a lot of wood there holding the spring in place if i remember rightly.

Re the 111BS. i have a feeling that the 12 bass back end of what they call a pre-corona may fit  (the earlier square BS)  it is something i have been toying with for a while.
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Mark Leue

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2020, 12:52:15 PM »

As someone who restores double basses for a living, I have a suggestion to avoid damage the next time you need to disassemble something glued together. Yes, sometimes the glue is degraded to the point where one can simply pry things apart without doing damage to the lower surface you are trying to preserve, but the safe way to do this is to use a sharp chisel (or a small handsaw if you have access) to pare away the part you want gone, as close as is practical, then plane with a finger plane until it's down to veneer thickness. Removing the last couple of tenths of a millimeter c an be done by soaking it with a small wet rag (this is usually enough if its hide glue) or in the case of most white glues a soak followed by pressing a block of aluminum or other metallic chunk thats been made quite hot on a hot plate (it helps to install a handle to grab it with!) to the spot, with the wet rag still in place, followed by sone pallet knife work if it still need persuasion.
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2020, 07:57:41 PM »

I carried on a bit with this yesterday and the frame for the reed blocks is now in place.
I needed to relocate the air button spring too as the original position doesn't exist anymore.
Mark, I'm a cabinet maker and I was just being inattentive, I'd established the grain direction of the bit I was removing then turned it over by mistake. Bit of an idiot but hey, nobody died and it was easily fixable.
Jon, I'll let you know when I try that one.
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Poker work DG. Erica GC,
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Matching Liliputs in CF and DG,
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2020, 11:57:38 AM »

My job for today has been rained off and I have an unexpected afternoon in my workshop.
The next job on this project is the reed blocks. I had planned to get some 1.5 or 0.8mm ply for the dividers, but I'm wondering if 2mm MDF would be ok.
I don't think I'm tight for space so an extra mm of thickness wouldn't matter, but is there any reason why I shouldn't use it? I've got loads of the stuff.
I can't see it making a difference to the sound and although it won't tolerate damp, the rest of the box would suffer more if moisture got in.
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Poker work DG. Erica GC,
Pariselle 2.6 DG, Ex-Club IIIBS CF,
Matching Liliputs in CF and DG,
Lots of sickly Hohners needing TLC,
Bassoon, Various Bagpipes........

Steve_freereeder

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2020, 12:20:11 PM »

My job for today has been rained off and I have an unexpected afternoon in my workshop.
The next job on this project is the reed blocks. I had planned to get some 1.5 or 0.8mm ply for the dividers, but I'm wondering if 2mm MDF would be ok.
I don't think I'm tight for space so an extra mm of thickness wouldn't matter, but is there any reason why I shouldn't use it? I've got loads of the stuff.
I can't see it making a difference to the sound and although it won't tolerate damp, the rest of the box would suffer more if moisture got in.

Even 2 mm for the divider walls sounds a bit thin to me. 3 - 4 mm is more realistic. I think we used approx 3 mm on Emmanuel Pariselle's melodeon making courses. The other point to consider is how you are planning to fix the reed plates in position. I don't think MDF is particularly good at holding smooth shank nails or fine thread screws, so waxing the reed plates is your best option if using MDF.

Stormy Hyde (Australian melodeon builder) used to use balsa for his reed blocks. Lightweight of course and seemed to work ok.
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2020, 12:27:21 PM »

Sorry, wrong terminology.
This is for the piece that divides the low reed from the mid reed, or in the treble end the M reed from the M+ reed.
In effect, the spine of the block.
I have already cut a load of close grained pine for the rest of the block.
I'll cut some beech for the bases.
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Poker work DG. Erica GC,
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Matching Liliputs in CF and DG,
Lots of sickly Hohners needing TLC,
Bassoon, Various Bagpipes........

Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2020, 12:46:28 PM »

I can't comment on the appropriateness of MDF from a technical point of view but, aesthetically, it sounds rather...naff.
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Greg Smith
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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2020, 01:45:27 PM »

Sorry, wrong terminology.
This is for the piece that divides the low reed from the mid reed, or in the treble end the M reed from the M+ reed.
In effect, the spine of the block.
Ah - OK now I understand what you mean.
So long as the MDF is stable, I don't see why you shouldn't use it, although I take Greg's point too. But if there is any risk of it delaminating at all, or swelling/shrinking under different temperature and humidity conditions, I'd be inclined to steer clear of it.

Reed blocks need to be as rigid as possible, and have a rigid centre spine and/or capping so you can screw a metal reed block brace to connect adjacent blocks.
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2020, 11:35:10 AM »

I've put this on hold for a couple of weeks as I've been a bit busy, but also I've discovered the saw kerf is around 3.5 to 4mm and I really need about 2.5.
I have a new blade on order then I can cut neat joints for the reed blocks.
I've also got hold of some 1.4mm ply for the spines of the blocks as I will probably sell this box on eventually and I don't want anybody reading through this thread and rejecting a box that has MDF in it.
Thinking about what Hohner used in the past, I wonder if they might have tried MDF in the reed blocks if it had been available. They certainly seemed to use the cheapest method whenever possible.
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Poker work DG. Erica GC,
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Theo

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2020, 12:32:25 PM »

Thinking about what Hohner used in the past, ......... They certainly seemed to use the cheapest method whenever possible.

If you want to see what cheap construction really looks like try repairing some of the boxes built in Klingenthal.  Not the very best I agree, but generally good workmanlike stuff.  Materials and methods used by Hohner are much better.  Think Ford Escort compared with Trabant!
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2020, 02:26:42 PM »

Well, the saw blade hasn't arrived and on chasing it up found that the order has been lost.
Might get it tomorrow.😬
So I'm doing the treble end. Nearly all done.
There is nothing left of the club system, I'm largely replicating the arrangement on my Pariselle which is again close to Saul Bailey's Mory. (Thank you Saul)

I think I've worked out how the basses go.
On my particular Pariselle box the main 12 buttons are the same as the Salterelle (first one of the layout chart) but I find that I never use the push A so I'm hoping to make that Bb instead.
Of course I'm talking DG and this is CF so I'll do this one at Ab.
It's a bit of an experiment using relatively (compared to Tipo a Mano) cheap Hohner reeds. If it works out I'll do the Pariselle too.
I'm guessing the Castagnari basses would be more versatile, and Emmanuel himself favours a similar arrangement but I'm working with what I've got used to. 
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Poker work DG. Erica GC,
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Matching Liliputs in CF and DG,
Lots of sickly Hohners needing TLC,
Bassoon, Various Bagpipes........

Squeaky Pete

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2020, 08:47:08 PM »

Still no saw blade so having finished the treble end I've returned to the bass mechanism.
I've replaced the (now undersized at 8 bass) gasket sheet with something the right size and spent a jolly hour cutting the holes with a scalpel.
I've refitted the original bass mechanism at the knee end and half an mechanism tucked under the air button. The joint between the the two bits is a bit critical. Ideally Microbot recommended a whole new full length axle, but I'm not able to go out and buy, blag or cadge anything suitable so I've used what I have.
It's important to keep the spacing even and there are only so many spindle supports so the cut end needs to be carefully worked out to maintain the pattern. It's bang in the middle of the photo. Easy to lose the spring while doing this too. So the lever arm is over the joint of the spindle. I'll add a couple of extra screws to make sure the baseplates can't flex and allow the arm to move out of position.
I've straightened the original buttons' arms and they only just reach the new positions. The extra 4 buttons have been kindly donated by a disgustingly ugly Club IV. Slightly different colour but will do. Their arms are too short and in a position Herr Hohner never planned so I might cut them and (soft) solder an extra section alongside.
If I get this done tomorrow I'll post extra photos.
Next job is to pre-tune the bass reeds. I've got them all laid out on a sheet of melamine board with the existing pitch and desired pitch marked (until I spill them on the floor) so that'll keep me off the streets.

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Poker work DG. Erica GC,
Pariselle 2.6 DG, Ex-Club IIIBS CF,
Matching Liliputs in CF and DG,
Lots of sickly Hohners needing TLC,
Bassoon, Various Bagpipes........

Theo

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2020, 09:06:13 PM »

Small size welding filler rod is the right thickness for a Hohner axle rod.
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2020, 10:44:34 AM »

Finally my saw blade arrived and I've been able to get on with this.
I've shown some pictures of the chord block construction.
It's a prototype and I'd make it slightly different in the future. It'd be worth jigging up to make half a dozen at a time.
I've used beech for the base, 1.5 mm birch ply for the spine (not MDF) and pine (European redwood) for the rest.
As you can see I've done it all as a pair, it seemed the easiest way. I have another block for the GC. :||:
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Poker work DG. Erica GC,
Pariselle 2.6 DG, Ex-Club IIIBS CF,
Matching Liliputs in CF and DG,
Lots of sickly Hohners needing TLC,
Bassoon, Various Bagpipes........

Squeaky Pete

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2020, 10:57:05 AM »

Bass block now.
I drew out the positions of the spacers/reed slots in pencil.
The stuff was pretty much the same dimension on each side just turned 90°,  roughly 16 X 11 and 11.5 X 15.5 so I used the same stock.
I didn't bother with slotted joints. Again jigging up for a few at a time would be worthwhile and proper joints would save time in the long run.
Same construction as the chord blocks, and I know there's a knot in a stupid place but it has been seasoned for months and is airtight.
I've got to put some gasket or felt on the base.
Theo kindly gave me some pinky beige stuff. With orlandi printed in it. Is this the right stuff?
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Poker work DG. Erica GC,
Pariselle 2.6 DG, Ex-Club IIIBS CF,
Matching Liliputs in CF and DG,
Lots of sickly Hohners needing TLC,
Bassoon, Various Bagpipes........

Tiposx

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Re: 12 bass Victoria
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2020, 11:50:02 AM »

Hi Squeakypete
If you have any worries about the bass blocks and the butt joints the you could pin through them with birch ply dowel. I use 1/8 dowel and Titebond. My dividers are birch ply and I  have no doubts about the integrity of this method.
Cheers
Tiposx
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